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COA uses opinion to clarify sentence claims

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The Indiana Court of Appeals used a defendant's appeal today to clarify that inappropriate sentence claims and abuse of discretion claims are to be analyzed separately.

David King's appeal of his sentence following a guilty plea to dealing cocaine as a Class B felony in David King v. State of Indiana, No. 49A02-0802-CR-162, prompted authoring Judge Nancy Vaidik to explain inappropriate sentence and abuse of discretion claims are to be analyzed separately. King's inappropriate sentence argument also had references to the abuse of discretion standard.

Because not-for-publication opinions are showing other attorneys are making this mistake, the appellate court wanted to use this opinion to clarify that an inappropriate sentence analysis doesn't involve an argument that the trial court abused its discretion in sentencing the defendant, Judge Vaidik wrote.

Appellate courts may revise a sentence if it is found to be inappropriate in light of the nature of the offense and character of the offender. The location of where a sentence is to be served is reviewable by the appellate court, but isn't subject to a review for abuse of discretion, she continued.

In the instant case, King, who was ordered to serve six years at the Department of Correction, alleges he should have been allowed to serve his time in community corrections or "at least be given the benefit of the mental health evaluation and treatment he clearly needs," but he doesn't detail the treatment. At his sentencing hearing, the trial court noted King claimed to have multiple personality disorder, a diagnosis he made himself.

His counsel failed to present evidence of what type of treatment King allegedly needs and was confused about King's diagnosis. The attorney requested placement with a mental health component, but didn't specify that component, wrote Judge Vaidik. And, King received his medication while in jail awaiting sentencing. Because of this evidence, King failed to persuade the appellate court his placement with the DOC was inappropriate.

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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